Black Archive Submissions: The 1980s

During August 2017, The Black Archive is accepting submissions for 20,000 to 40,000-word studies of individual Doctor Who TV stories from the 1980s. This period is defined slightly elastically, to exclude The Horns of Nimon and Shada, and thus equates to John Nathan-Turner’s tenure as producer.

You should be aware that the following titles have already been published or announced as Black Archives:

  • Full Circle
  • Black Orchid
  • The Twin Dilemma
  • ‘The Ultimate Foe’ (The Trial of a Time Lord episodes 13 and 14)
  • Ghost Light
  • The Curse of Fenric.

Three further 1980s stories (one for each of the fifth, sixth and seventh Doctors) have been commissioned but not yet announced. With 41 still unspoken for you’re unlikely to duplicate them, but if you send us an outstanding proposal for one of the three we may well invite you to submit for another story instead.

Submissions should relate only to full-length televised Doctor Who stories. The Trial of a Time Lord should be considered in terms of its component stories, not as a whole. You should be aware that the range editor feels that the fifth Doctor has been criminally under-represented in our output so far.

What We’ll Need to See

You’ll need to send us a single MS Word document containing the following:

  • A detailed chapter breakdown showing the structure of your proposed book. This isn’t just the contents page, but must include a précis of each chapter.
  • A sample of your critical writing, in a similar style to your proposed book. This should be a single piece, 4,000 to 6,000 words long. If something you’ve written previously fits the bill, that’s fine. Otherwise, this should consist of one (or more, if they’re short) of the chapters listed in your chapter breakdown.

If you’re not sure what the above should look like, your best bet is to buy and read some of the published Black Archive titles.

The Process

Please email submissions to blackarchive@obversebooks.co.uk during August 2017, with ‘Black Archive submission: ’ and the name of your chosen story in the subject line. Participants are limited to one submission per slot, and no more than two submissions in total for the year. Proposals submitted outside the submissions window will be ignored. We will consider your submission and get back to you by the end of October 2017.

We’ll pick submissions based on their merits, but also in relation to our commissioned titles and the overall balance of the range. We’re aware that our record of gender representation has been pretty shoddy to date, so we’ll give a degree of preferential treatment to submissions from women.

We anticipate that a number of deserving submissions will have to be rejected, based purely on the limited number of slots available. We’ll inform you if your submission has been rejected, but we won’t necessarily be able to give specific feedback or enter into further correspondence.

This is a submissions process, not a competition, so we won’t be announcing ‘winners’. Commissioned titles will be announced in due course as part of our standard publication schedule. If you are commissioned, your title won’t be published before 2019 or 2020, possibly later, and we may not be able to assign a publication slot immediately. We will discuss the writing, editing and publication process in more detail with participants whose submissions are successful.